Launched on February 14, 2020, the MFM Speaks Out podcast seeks to further the mission of the musician’s rights advocacy organization Musicians For Musicians (MFM). Episodes are released monthly and feature interview-style discussions on issues that affect the creative rights of musicians. MFM represents a strong voice in the fight for making music a legitimate profession. The main hosts are MFM members Adam Reifsteck and Dawoud Kringle supervised by MFM President Sohrab Saadat Ladjevardi.

“You have to take yourself seriously and find your own voice.”

Our guest for this episode of MFM Speaks Out is Hubert Howe. Hubert Howe grew up in Los Angeles, California, where he began his musical studies as an oboist. He was educated at Princeton University, studied with J.K. Randall, Godfrey Winham, and Milton Babbitt, and received the A.B., M.F.A. and Ph.D.. He was one of the first researchers in computer music, and became Professor of Music and Director of the Electronic Music studios at Queens College in New York, where he was also Director of the Aaron Copland School of Music from 1989 to 1998, 2001 to 2002, and Autumn 2007. He taught at the Juilliard School from 1974 through 1994. In 1988-89 he held the Endowed Chair in Music at the University of Alabama.

He has been a member of theSociety of Composers, Inc. since its founding in 1965 and served on the Executive Committee from 1967 to 1971. He served as President of the US section of the League of Composers / International Society of Contemporary Music from 1970 until 1979. In 1980, he received a commission from the CSC at the University of Padua, Italy, for his composition Astrazioni (Abstractions), which was presented at the Biennale of Venice.

He is a member of the International Computer Music Association, and directed the International Computer Music Conference at Queens College in 1980. In 1994, he was the composer-in-residence at the Third Annual Florida Electroacoustic Music Festival at the University of Florida in Gainesville. He is also a member of Society for Electro-Acoustic Music, a member of BMI, and the American Composers Alliance since 1974 and served as their President from 2002 to 2011. He is a member of the New York Composer’s Circle and has served as Executive Director since 2013. In 2009, he founded the New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival, and he continues as Director. He is also a member of the Association for the Promotion of New Music (APNM).

Recordings of his computer music have been released by Capstone Records, Ravello Records, and ABLAZE Records.

Topics discussed:

The topics discussed include studying composition at Princeton under people like Milton Babbitt and J.K. Randall, his opinions of Karlheinz Stockhausen, becoming a Professor of Music and Director of the Electronic Music studios at Queens College in New York and Julliard, his involvement with the New York Composer’s Circle, how electronic music was and is accepted in the classical music world, his thoughts about the influence of electronics on American popular music, such as Progressive Rock, Hip Hop, EDM, and composers and improvisers like Frank Zappa, Brian Eno, or Miles Davis, how he approaches and draws inspiration composing for electronics as opposed to acoustic instruments, his thoughts on the unprecedented factor of Artificial Intelligence and its application as a compositional tool, how the domination of streaming the economics of a career as a professional music composer changed over the years, how recent changes in the sales and marketing structure of recorded music, coupled with the domination of streaming services affected composers of orchestral, chamber, and electronic music, thoughts of Modern Classical Music’s relevance, and music in general, in contemporary American life, and in the near future, and his advice to aspiring composers.

Music featured in this episode:

Nocturne, Dance and Dream (a live performance featuring Craig Ketter on piano)

Inharmonic Fantasy No. 7

Harmonic Fantasy No. 5

(All compositions by Hubert Howe. Used with permission)

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